January 30, 2004

Dr. Sumana Datta, Center for Advanced Invertebrate Molecular Sciences, Texas A&M

Abstract: Stem cells are a unique group of precursor cells that can give
rise to almost any type of cell in the body. But while we all have stem
cells in our bodies, they are not all dividing all the time. Stem cells
divide when called on by the body to replace missing or damaged cells, or
to add cells in the course of development. We are investigating how the
body of the fuit fly Drosophila tells the stem cells in the developing
brain when to start dividing. Our studies show that the stem cells need a
variety of cues to begin division, including hormonal signals and a series
of growth factor signals. Interestingly, two different growth factor
signals are modulated by the same co-receptor protein.

Park, Y., Rangel, C., Reynolds, M., Caldwell. M. C., Johns, M., Nayak, M.,
Welsh, C. J. R., McDermott, S. and Datta, S. (2003). Drosophila Perlecan
modulates FGF and Hedgehog signals to activate stem cell division.
Developmental Biology, 253(2): 247-257.

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